It had really happened. My laptop got stolen in the office overnight!
Or rather, my battered bulky Compaq Armada that the company has loaned to me (every reporter had this privilege) about four years ago - free of charge - is gone!
I don't know whether it was due to the not-so-high-standard durability of the laptop or the way I (mis)handled it, the poor laptop was in a pretty bad shape. Some pieces had fallen off and the cover was quite loose and `senyik', on top of that, many of the letters on the keyboard have been scrapped off from my fingernails.
I had even dropped it a few times (well inside a case lah)!!
Yeah, that's how much I used this trusted old laptop to do my daily work. You see, we don't have enough terminals for everyone in the NST and MM newsroom.
I've digressed. Back to the story of the day.
Ok, I must confess: my laptop wouldn't have been stolen if not because of my risk-taking attitude or sheer `stupidity'. Or put it in other words: I invited theft myself..
Because I have been using the laptop in the office only and hardly anywhere else, I found lugging it into my car and back home and then back to office daily to be cumbersome job. Somemore this was quite heavy as it was not a slick and light laptop.
So after doing it for a year or so, I decided to just leave the laptop in the office. BUT.. because I do not have my own room and the laptop can't fit into my tiny locker, what I resorted doing was to `hide' my laptop (in a case) on top of a open box of books and stuff, and then covered it with some old broadsheet newspapers (Berita Harian now).
Some trusted colleague who knew about my `daring' habit had warned me against doing so as things do get missing in office.. It's a sick thing but unfortunately we often have internal theft (since newsroom is open 24 hours). Some people's valuables including wallets, phones and electronic stuff got stolen now and then. For myself, I had my tissue box, calendar and some stationeries stolen before. But all my reference books and files and more important stuff had luckily been spared all this time.
So i thought I would be that lucky throughout.. Until now.
Yesterday, I was out of office by 4pm for an assignment and didn't come in till almost 4pm today due to another long interview. When I routinely reachd for my laptop case under the pile of old newspapers, I saw something was not right...the laptop was GONE!! And even the power adaptor had been unplugged and taken awayll!
For a while i didn't know how to react. I didn't exclaim or curse. In fact I was pretty calm and later told a few colleagues what happened. I was met with sympathetic reponses. No one said: `It's your fault!' or `See, I told you so." I was quite touched...
Thank goodness we use an in-house editorial system which means I didn't lose any of my work. I could retrieve my articles from any other PC. And there were no documents stored in the laptop hard disk.
I thought of the scum bag of a thief. He/she must be quite frustrated when he/she saw the deplorable condition of my laptop. It practically has no value, The thief might as well give it away as charity! or more likely, he/she would dispose it off!
Now, the only thing that bothers me is how am I going to report the theft to the admin. and whether I am liable to compensate for the laptop. Although I heard from some that the company had intend for us to keep it after a certain number of years. I have yet to find out.
Although I've never been very attached to my laptop, somehow when I used another terminal to work today, it was not the same. I had to `tumpang' another colleague's desk. Sometimes when work gets busy, I might be without a PC to work on.. (sigh)
Maybe it's time to invest in a reasonable laptop of my own. I have actually been thinking of it for a while..I will be carrying my slicker, lighter notebook (no longer laptop) to Starbucks and use its wireless service...and to other places.
I'm sure because it is purchased with my own money, i would not be so disregardful and heedless to let anyone have a chance to steal it!
But deep down I still harbour that wishful thinking that perhaps after discovering the pathetic condition of the stolen good, the thief would dump it back below my desk..
Fat chance. It's more like `goodbye, my trusted old Compaq Armada..'